Home Lifestyle “Stop Wasting Money on Vitamin and Mineral Supplements” – Annals of Internal...

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More than half of all adults in the United States take some sort of multivitamin or supplement; many do so in hopes of better health, preventing heart disease and cancer. But according to an editorial published in Annals of Internal Medicine says that using supplements and multivitamins is a waste of money.

The (vitamin and supplement) industry is based on anecdote, people saying ‘I take this, and it makes me feel better,‘ said Dr. Edgar Miller, professor of medicine and epidemiology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

“It’s perpetuated. But when you put it to the test, there’s no evidence of benefit in the long term. It can’t prevent mortality, stroke or heart attack.”

The article is based on three studies looking at the effects of multivitamins on preventing heart attacks and cancer, as well as improving cognitive function in men older than 65.

Smokers who took only beta carotene supplements increased their risk of lung cancer.

The first study covered more than 450,000 participants and found that multivitamins had no beneficial effect on preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. In addition, taking vitamins or Supplements didn’t prevent mortality in any way. However, the analysis did confirm that beta carotene and Vitamin E have adverse effect in lung cancer.

Evidence involving thousands of people shows that beta carotene, Vitamin E and high doses of Vitamin A increase mortality and other anti-oxidants, Folic acid and Vitamin B have no clear benefit.

The second study looked at 1,700 patients who previously had heart attacks. They were assigned to take three multivitamins twice a day for five years. However, with more than 50% of patients stopping their medications, it was difficult for authors to come to any real conclusions about the vitamins’ effectiveness.

The third and  final study followed nearly 6,000 men older than 65, who took either a multivitamin or a placebo for 12 years. But the test results found no differences between the two groups. However the group of men followed in the cognitive study were all physicians with no health problems.

“These are very well-nourished, very health-conscious people,” said Gladys Block, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at University of California Berkeley. In fact, she says none of the studies accurately represents the American population.

According to Cara Welch, senior vice president of the Natural Products Association “It is pretty common that in this day and age with the lifestyle many of us lead that we don’t always take the time to have a balanced diet, and even if you do have a balanced diet, you can still have nutritional deficiencies.”

The vitamin and supplement industry rakes in nearly $12 billion annually, according to the researchers, with multivitamins its most popular product.

“Multivitamins address the nutritional deficiencies in people,” Welch said. “We don’t believe they are the answer to all life’s ailments, as the editorial suggests.”

Multivitamins have no clear benefit on healthy people who are well nutritioned. To some people, affected with health problem, they may be beneficial. So eat fruits and vegetables. Multivitamins are prescribed only in some conditions and don’t forget excess of everything is bad and may have adverse effect on your health.


  1. This article has many problems – here are a few of them. If you want more, just ask.
    1) The placing of the banner “Smokers who took…” is placed before the ‘data’ supporting their decision is supplied.
    2) They do not state which vitamins were tested and if they have anything to do with heart disease.
    3) There is no mention of the intake mechanisms that were used. Were they made bio-available, for example? What delivery medium were they embedded in (cellulose or something else)?
    4) The author(s) writing the piece don’t seem to know anything about nutrition or farming.

    • Thanks for your opinion Heurist. Here is the response to your concerns.

      1. Banner is just to highlight the findings.
      2. The article has been updated with information about vitamins used.
      3. Intake mechanism is not specified in original research article.
      4. This article is based on the research published by RICE university as specified in the source. And yes I don’t know anything about farming. My write up is completely based on original research article.

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